EPA Moves to Address PFAS Under RCRA

On February 1, EPA announced two new regulatory actions to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The first is a proposed rule that would modify the definition of hazardous waste as it applies to cleanups at permitted hazardous waste facilities. The Agency states that this modification would “assure that EPA’s regulations reflect EPA’s and authorized states’ authority to require cleanup of the full range of substances that the [RCRA] intended, including emerging chemicals of concern, such as PFAS, that may present substantial hazards, at permitted facilities.” The second proposed rule would amend RCRA’s Appendix VIII to add nine PFAS, allowing the Agency to pursue RCRA corrective actions to address releases of these PFAS from hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.

EPA’s news release states that the proposed rules “would strengthen protections for communities and drinking water supplies located near the 1,740 permitted hazardous waste facilities across the nation.” The Agency notes that corrective action under RCRA requires facilities that treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste to protect health and the environment by investigating and cleaning up hazardous releases into soil, groundwater, surface water, and air.

Once published in the Federal Register, the “Definition of Hazardous Waste Applicable to Corrective Action from Solid Waste Management Units” proposed rule will be open for public comment for 30 days, and the “Listing of Specific PFAS as Hazardous Constituents” proposed rule will be open for public comment for 60 days.